The October 1, 1852 edition of the Sacramento “Daily Union,” contains an article regarding who should or should not have the rights to the mining lands of California. It shows that nearly 160 years ago, things were not much different from today. The language is a bit crude, and perhaps racist by today’s standards, but it shows the mind of the American miner at that time.
“This convention, which assembled at Jamestown, Tuolumne county, on the 18th inst., recommended the holding of a State Convention of miners at Sacramento, on the 10th of November next, to memorialize Congress for the adoption of such measures as will protect native and citizen miners against foreign emigration, and also for a general system for the government of the public lands.
“The following resolutions embrace the spirit of the platform adopted by the convention:
“That it is the interest of this State and of the whole Union to take such measures as will preserve to California for the longest possible period, its present position as a bountiful and happy home for the immigrant from the older States.
“That the rich reward which labor commands in this State, and the proportionate profits which the tradesman and the merchant likewise enjoy, being the source from which we derive the rich stream of emigration from the older States, which is now flowing westward towards this country, are not circumstances which we who are favored should alone cherish and commend, but are rich National blessings, which should be fostered and not destroyed.
“That the mineral lands of California, being of limited extent, and of unsurpassed richness, and having been purchased with the blood and treasure of the American people, should rightfully be set apart by the General Government for the exclusive benefit of American citizens, and persons eligible for citizenship who shall have declared their intentions of becoming such.
“That we are in favor of the present Naturalization Laws of the United States, and recognize in them the proper and just means to carry out the principles for which Washington and our revolutionary fathers fought and bled.
“That we do not recognize either the legality or the justice of extending the benefit of those naturalization laws beyond the intention of their framers, and of the fathers of the American Union, so as to include the motly races of foreigners from Asia, Polynesia and South America.
“That although we have reason to believe that the well known and often declared will of the laboring classes of this State in relation to the introduction of any peon or cooly system of labor will forever prevent the legalization of any such system, yet we daily see around us the evidences of an insidious policy heretofore characterizing the government of this State, by which whole hordes of degraded, dark colored and worthless laborers, of mongrel race and barbarous education, are allowed, and even invited to come hither merely to rob the rightful owner of this dearly bought heritage.
“That it is the duty of the Legislature of this State to pass such laws as are constitutional and proper (such as a tax of $5 for hospital purposes upon each such emigrant, or in any other way that they may see-fit.) in order to impede and obstruct the emigration of the last mentioned class of foreigners into this State.
“That as Congress has made no provision to protect the mining interest in California, it becomes the duty of the people to take measures themselves to save the State from the effects of the ruinous immigration of foreigners who threaten to overwhelm the whole land with the vast hordes which are daily arriving upon our shores, and as a natural consequence to seize upon the rich treasures of the State, which rightfully and properly belong only to the citizens of the Union, who have purchased the country, and whose representatives the citizens of California this time may justly and properly be considered.
“That our representatives, when elected, be requested to use their utmost endeavors to accomplish the repeal any act of the Legislature of this State, authorizing or licensing the working of foreigners in the mineral lands.”
In 1852 the Official California State Animal, the California grizzly bear, still existed in the wild. Hunters often went after them, but were not always successful in their hunt. An article in the October 2, 1852 edition of the paper relates a story of one hunt.
“BEWARE OF GRIZZLIES. – We saw an old hunter yesterday, named Hopper, with his arm in a sling, and upon inquiring the cause, he related to us the following particulars:
“Accompanied by his son and another individual, in Aug. last, all armed with good rifles, he went into the mountains to hunt bear. They had not proceeded far till they divided off, keeping within hearing of each other’s voices, as is usual with hunters in time of danger. His attention was arrested by his son, who called to him that three grizzlies were in sight, at the distance of perhaps three hundred yards. The old gentleman cocked his rifle, with the intention of stealing upon them for a shot. In descending the point of a hill for that purpose, he rounded a clump of chapperel [sic], when, to his horror, he found himself directly upon a huge bear, lying down, which had not been previously discovered. The savage monster sprang up immediately, and made an attack. Being too close to discharge his piece, Hopper sought to save himself by prostrating himself on the ground. The bear caught him by the wrist of the right arm, and bit it through, at the same time wrenching it in such a manner as to break it at the elbow. He then retired a short distance, when Hopper, anxious to avenge himself by the animal’s death, made a motion to possess his rifle. The monster turned upon him a second time. Again he prostrated himself with his face to the earth, but the expedient did not save him. The bear seized him by either hip, biting out huge mouthfuls of the solid flesh. It then knawed [sic] him on the back, and left him. Beyond this Hopper’s memory is indistinct, as his wounds were so severe as partially to deprive him of reason.
“His son and the man accompanying him, became frightened when they first beheld the attack, and took safety by climbing a tree.
“The old gentleman says he is determined to have his revenge yet, but the next time he goes in pursuit of grizzlies, he will be careful to have one of Colt’s six-shooters with him in addition to his rifle.”
TO BE CONTINUED